Nitrous oxide emissions

Nitrous oxide (N2O), along with carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), is a greenhouse gas. In terms of CO2 equivalents, N2O emissions are approximately 300 times more harmful to the climate than CO2. They, therefore, make up a substantial contribution to global environmental problems (climate change and ozone layer destruction).

A substantial part of man-made N2O is emitted to the atmosphere from wastewater treatment plants. However, the actual N2O emissions of a wastewater treatment plant can’t be precisely estimated, since representative long-term data and knowledge about N2O production during biological nitrogen elimination are limited. The latter is influenced by technical (e.g. aeration), chemical (e.g. water matrix) and biological (e.g. biocenosis) processes, as well as by seasonal temperature fluctuations.

In Lasso, KWB is developing a measuring concept to systematically record N2O emissions and other relevant parameters. The data obtained will be evaluated by our experts, after which the first assessment of nitrous oxide emissions at one of  Berlin’s wastewater treatment plants will be carried out. The goal is to better understand the relationships between the various influencing factors and their impact on N2O formation, and to subsequently develop recommendations for preventing emissions in the first place.

Project partner & funding

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